Latinx Immigrant Youth’s Indirect and Direct Disclosures About Their Family-Undocumented Experiences, Received Emotional Support, and Depressive Symptoms

Jennifer A. Kam, Andy J. Merolla, Andrew C. High

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Drawing upon sensitive interaction systems theory, this study investigated Latinx immigrant youth’s indirect and direct disclosures about their family-undocumented experiences (i.e., informing others of their own or family’s undocumented experiences, including details surrounding their undocumented situation) to a teacher(s) or a friend(s). Furthermore, this study examined how such disclosures relate to subsequent disclosure and to received emotional support across an academic year. Received emotional support, in turn, was theorized to predict youth’s depressive symptoms. Survey data were collected in the beginning, middle, and end of the 2015-2016 academic year from 410 Latinx family-undocumented students (ninth-12th grades). Latinx students reported more indirect than direct disclosures about their family-undocumented experiences, potentially as a way to seek support. They also reported greater indirect and direct disclosure about their family-undocumented experiences to a friend(s) compared with a teacher(s). Emotional support did not significantly mediate the associations between disclosure and depressive symptoms; however, indirect and direct disclosures to a friend(s) positively related to depressive symptoms within various waves.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalCommunication Research
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Communication
  • Linguistics and Language

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